The Other Side of the Curve: Life, Sex and Art in a Post-Covid-19 World
As with any other virus, this one too is expected to become manageable. So what’s next?
This piece is not intended to replace Stephen King’s “The Stand” in popular discourse. Nor is it targeted to challenge anyone’s political perspectives, or, frankly, fears of death.
“The Other Side of the Curve” is an exploration of where we will be once our Covid-19 crisis descends from its peak.
As yesterday’s science fiction has become reality, I ask that you indulge me on a new outlook.
What follows is as speculative as the contents of tonight’s dinner:
Life, in general, that is. The other side of the curve will introduce us to yet another new normal, but nothing out of the ordinary. Most of us will resume what we had considered life as usual, much of that life being dictated, as ever, by our politics and our social media.
The difference is some of us will have learned a valuable lesson or two, some of us will have not.
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How many of us did not responsibly save our money? Our parents were not wrong.
We may of course have to make adjustments. If someone coughs or sneezes, will we look at them funny? Will they become pariahs to our eyes?
Will you feel comfortable venturing out into crowded areas?
Outlook: Our pre-Covid-19 universe saw explosive growth in the plant-based foods industry. Beyond Meat (the company behind Beyond Burgers), Impossible Foods (the company behind Impossible Burgers), and an accelerated rise in veganism saw a definable 21st century trend towards healthier eating. I see concern over mortality causing this upward trend to continue.
Further, digital workshops will increase exponentially, as will subscription services for branded entertainment, televised sporting events, restaurant deliveries, home schooling and any other form of daily life that once was considered standard for small and large crowds.
Shut-ins will shut-in that much more. The rest will assimilate into the culture, as before.
Unemployment numbers were low prior to the onset of the crisis. What will change?
Outlook: Jobs will take some time to return to pre-crisis numbers. Small businesses will struggle to repay survival loans though the government’s stimulus package will have helped many make payroll in the meantime. Entrepreneurialism will increase. Those who will have learned certain financial lessons will well understand the value of counting on oneself for an income stream or two, as jobs will never be as fully steady as we’d like to believe, a lesson now punctuated.
We all had to pay rent to the coronavirus landlord, which wreaked havoc everywhere.
Outlook: Some will use their stimulus checks to purchase groceries, or new product on Amazon, or something frivolous. Point being, the money won’t last. Companies will spring up to manage (or take advantage of) those who are now looking for new work. Many people will become entrepreneurial, as mentioned above, and take matters into their own hands. At least in part. Online workshops for every industry will likely become a favorite pastime for financially-savvy opportunists.
The arts will be looked upon as more important than ever. As we were self-quarantined, where did we turn? Our television shows, our films on TV, videogames, writing and reading, music …
Outlook: We will stand on the edges of another renaissance in creativity. Those who took advantage of the time spent at home creating new artistic works will be primed for the new markets that will open, and old markets that will return in force. Opportunities will stabilize from there, as some new hiring entities and content providers will fall by the wayside in the midst of the increased competition.
We’ve lived in a world where divisions have been exploited by our leaders. The expression of racism and other prejudices have become normalized. As for Covid-19 itself, Asians took unfair blame due to the origin of the virus in China.
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Today’s Casual Racism is Hurting Innocent Asians, While White Supremacists Threaten to Weaponize Covid-19.
Prior to the advent of Covid-19 the U.S. was engaged in a largely partisan battle of gun control positions inspired by a spate of mass shootings. In a sense, we were returning to the Wild West mentality, where nothing was off-limits.
Outlook: Covid-19 did not discriminate. Rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, celebrity and blue collar worker, all were targeted. One ideally hopes that our intolerances will decrease as a result, but I sense simmering resentments will prove it wIll take more than a virus, unfortunately, to fully curb this ugliness. More citizens will apply for gun licenses, a phenomenon experienced at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.
However … many will have learned that life is short, and both hate and a rush to arms may be considered counterproductive to a desired quality of life. It is this group that will become known as the new breed of liberal.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will become the hero of the Democratic party, by virtue of leadership he exhibited during the crisis. On the Republican side, Trump will become emboldened and more popular with his base, who will credit his policies for ultimately “defeating” the virus.
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Our current U.S. President has already been immortalized as an American antihero and martyr, regardless of impeachment…
Outlook: Partisan bickering will devolve further. Trump will be notably challenged on his coronavirus policies and knowledge of the big issues by Joe Biden. Biden will step up and be looked upon as knowledgeable, experienced and largely capable, but the right will exploit a perceived lack of dynamism. The country will shifts towards a bipartisan curiosity with Cuomo, a tough guy with empathy who will run for and win the presidency in 2024.
That’s my prediction and I’m sticking to it.
I am not referring to romantic love here, as who can explain the human heart, as a poet would ask? No, I am referring to love of our fellow man.
Outlook: See Humanity, above. Ideally, we’d all love one another and sing Kumbaya while holding hands, skipping towards the sunset. It won’t happen. Our divisions will not begin to heal until the leader of the free world, whoever he or she is, leads the way and changes course.
Some of us model the behaviors of our leaders, and will continue to do so.
On repeat, our differences have been exploited perhaps more than ever in the years leading up to Covid-19.
Outlook: Also see Humanity, above. New generations will learn from their parents, many of whom deliberately or otherwise will have modeled their cultural views on their country’s leaders. This will continue to be an issue. Being a freethinker in this environment, though, in all aspects, will become an increasingly popular choice for some of our more independent-minded citizens, who will consider such blind devotion as passe and the passing of the virus as an opportunity for a new era of acceptance.
The adult entertainment industry has been decimated. Casual sex in the age of social isolation has become … problematic. If you were a couple during the period of the virus, you were fortunate.
Outlook: The porn biz will return in full force and test their performers for Covid-19 as casually as they do for HIV. Ditto licensed brothels. As for the rest of the world, expect a population boom.
No sarcasm intended.
According to the Pew Research Center, young people were statistically turning away from religion in larger numbers in the past five years than during any other recent period on record. Others kept their religion closely-held, and leaned upon it to get through the crisis.
Outlook: New religions, such as with new cults, tend to arise following periods of great calamity. Those who consider themselves underserved or unrepresented will, as ever, cultivate new entities to worship. For those less hippy-dippy, the continued rise of the freethinker will remain a viable alternative.
Social media has connected the world to a degree that could not have been predicted prior to its advent.
Outlook: Bigger than ever. Millennials will continue to leave Facebook, which will become increasingly politically-influenced. Tik Tok and Instagram will remain popular among the next generation; Twitter will slowly fade once Donald Trump leaves the presidency. Technological advances will bring further and more impressive interaction to users, which will take consumers away from more staid platforms.
Hospitals ran out of beds to handle the pandemic. Families could no longer visit loved ones who were hospitalized. Populations were forced to remain sick at home.
Outlook: The desperation just passed will inspire the creation of advances in home healthcare, in the spirit of not being caught helpless yet again. Countries will cooperate, and compete, in these endeavors.
Outlook: No change, but we will no longer have to worry about opening doors with our sleeves. That, and digital funerals will likely remain a thing.
There will be positive change … if we will have learned our lessons.
For now, stay safe, stay isolated, and take the time to smarten up.
Thank you for reading.
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